Saturday, October 12, 2013

Carpe Diem's Revise that haiku #1, a haiku by Taigi (1709-1771)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I love to introduce an all new challenging feature to you all. This new feature I have called "Revise That Haiku". And as the title says it's the goal to REVISE a given haiku. How does this new feature go?

In every, monthly, episode I will share a haiku written by a classical (or a non-classical, modern) haiku poet. I will describe the moment which inspired the haiku poet to compose that specific haiku. To REVISE that haiku you read the description of the moment and let it inspire you to write a revised version of that haiku. You may revise it in a classical or non-classical way, but it has to be different from the given haiku.

For this first episode of "Revise That Haiku" I have chosen a haiku written by Taigi (1709-1771 ?), a contemporary and friend of Buson. I will first give the haiku (including the Japanese Romaji) and then I will give the description of the moment which led to the haiku.

Plum flowers

umi ikete tsuki to mo wabin tomoshikage

arranging the plum-flowers,
I would enjoy them in the light of the lamp,
as if in the moonlight

(c) Taigi (1709-1771 ?)

The brevity of haiku is not something differnt from, but a part of the peotical life; it is not only a form of expression but a mode of living more immediately, more closely to life as may be illustrated in the above haiku by Taigi.

The original of the above haiku is even more difficult, literally: "arranging the plum, as if the moon, I would savour, lamp-light" (Wabiru translated 'enjoy', 'means' to live a life of poetry in poverty). The poet has arranged the flowers in a vase, and wishes to see them in the light of the moon, but there being no moon, he lights the lamp instead, and adds its light to the poetry and the beauty of the flowers.
The whole of the poet's life is shown in this action and the essence of the verse in wabin. This poverty, this asceticism of life and form in haiku, this absence of luxury and decoration finds its philosophical and transcendental expression in Emanuel Swedenborg's (a Swedish philosopher who lived from 1688 until 1772) "Heaven and Hell" (paragraph 178); after he has described the garments of the angels, some of which glow with flame, some of which shine with light, he adds:

"But the angels of the inmost heaven are not clothed".

Well ... with the desciption of the moment I think you can revise that haiku ... so ... "break a leg", have fun, be inspired and share your revised Taigi-haiku with us at Caroe Diem Haiku Kai.

Flourishing Plum Flowers in the Moonlight

I have given it also a try, here is my 'revised' Taigi-haiku:

shadow on the wall
flourishing plum blossom
in the moon light

(c) Chèvrefeuille, your host

Not a bad revised Taigi-haiku I think, but that's not up to me to decide.

This first episode of Carpe Diem's Revise That Haiku will stay on 'till November 15th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will (try) to post a new episode of this new feature later on that day.
!! Revise That Haiku #1 is now open for your submissions !!


  1. This is a very tough but interesting task. To be honest your haiku are looking pretty special these days!

  2. An enjoyable exercise and good practice

  3. This was fun. Let's do this again.

  4. This is beautiful-I felt so moved by the contrast!Am surely going to try my hand at this one-thank you Kristjaan for giving us this challenge-love this idea:-)